Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hair (and there)

My father had a poem, or a ditty, or a saying for most occasions. There was 'I scream, you scream, we all scream for icecream' (to be recited as if brand-new each time we had the aforementioned icecream, which got a tad repetitive in summer), and 'a wigwam for a goose's bridle' (?!), and 'I eat my peas with honey, I've done it all my life, it makes the peas taste funny, but it keeps them on the knife (which just infuriated me as we weren't allowed to do the same), and then something about 'bread and duck under the table' (also full of false promise as we were always forced to sit at the table. On chairs). But there was one that I felt was just for me, and it went like this:

There was a little girl,
who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead,
when she was good,
she was very very good,
but when she was bad she was horrid

This poem (actually penned by Longfellow) seemed to sum up everything about me. Curly hair along with a slither of good and a generous, just-beneath-the-surface slice of horridness. Uncanny. But, actually, of all the things that I possessed as a child - smooth skin, beautifully-shaped eyebrows (until I butchered them in my teens), 20/20 vision - one thing I've never regretted losing over time was my head of fluffy, fly-away blonde curls. Especially not later in my young-adulthood when I discovered spiral perms. So attractive. And those nifty foldable afro combs? So effective.
But something odd has happened in the last few months. quite unexpected in fact. I have regressed. However rather than any of the bits that I'd like to regain (see above and add incidentals like effortless fitness and an all-you-can-eat mentality that's matched by zero weight gain), I have managed - bizarrely - to develop a singular curl, smack dab in the centre of my forehead. A kiss-curl, my father used to call them, last seen on yours truly when I was about five or six years of age. Pretty damn cute then, pretty damn ridiculous now. Because there are some things that just don't lend themselves to midlife, like frilly socks and polka-dot skirts and pig-tails. And kiss-bloody-curls. I just look like I devoured Shirley Temple and she's trying to call for help.
I first noticed the damn thing about nine months ago, shortly after turning fifty (and as gifts go, this one's a fizzer), but initially just spent a little extra time nuke-ing it with the hairdryer. The problem is that it's growing in strength and is now it's able to resist even the hottest setting (unlike me, who regularly has third-degree burns on the forehead). A straightener and hair-gel does the trick, but then I look like I'm channeling Cameron Diaz, from There's Something About Mary, except that my bit of hair is sticking straight out, rather than straight up. More directional, like I'm pointing out the way. Or needing some shade.
So my question is - why? I mean, I expected the weight gain and the flat(ter) feet and the generous chin(s) and the blah-coloured hair, but a kiss-curl? Really? Is that some sort of joke? Here I am, a well-balanced (well, at least I don't topple over - often) fifty-year old with short, neat, wavy hair - which I now must cunningly part to disguise the singular spiral in the centre. Otherwise it really is so bad it's bloody horrid.

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